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Four Western New York colleges earn reaccreditation

Four local colleges – Daemen College, Hilbert College, D’Youville College and Niagara County Community College – have been reaccredited by the Middle States Commission on Higher Education.

Middle States, a regional accrediting body, evaluates hundreds of institutions in Delaware, the District of Columbia, Maryland, New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania, Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands. The commission posted 53 accreditations and reaccreditations on its website Thursday. It also announced it had taken the unusual step of withdrawing the accreditation of Dowling College, a liberal arts college with 2,400 students on Long Island. Without accreditation, a college or university may be forced to close.

The reaccreditations last for 10 years. But some of the schools will have to submit “monitoring reports” documenting that they are doing what they had described in their self studies.

By Dec. 1, 2017, D’Youville in Buffalo must show it has implemented a “comprehensive, organized and sustained process for the assessment of general education with evidence that assessment information is used to improve teaching and learning.”

In 2015, the commission warned D’Youville its accreditation could be in jeopardy because the college hadn’t provided enough evidence its curriculum was designed for students to demonstrate proficiency in essential skills such as oral and written communication and critical analysis and reasoning. The commission removed the warning at its June meeting.

Hilbert in Hamburg is required to submit a monitoring report by April 1, 2018, showing it provides enough resources for new programs and properly assesses its long-term financial viability, among other requests by the commission.

Also by April 1, 2018, Niagara County Community College in Sanborn must show it has a process to measure student learning and that those measurements are used to improve teaching and learning.

The accreditation process includes an in-depth “self study” by a committee at the college or university as well as a report by a visiting team of peer evaluators, who analyze whether an institution meets 14 accreditation standards, including mission and goals; planning, resource allocation and institutional renewal; institutional resources; leadership and governance; administration; integrity; institutional assessment; student admissions and retention; student support services; faculty; educational offerings; general education; related educational activities; and assessment of student learning.